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Research Paper Formatting Tips & Tricks

This guide has 'how-to" information about formatting MLA and APA research papers.

APA Basics

  1. A References list must be on a separate page. To start on a new page, press ctrl/enter on the keyboard (or command/enter on a Mac).
  2. Center the title References at the top of the page.
  3. Double space the entire page with no extra line spacing between entries.
  4. Each citation should be a Hanging Indent (all lines after the first line of each entry are indented one-half inch from the left margin).
  5. Place citations in alphabetical order.
  6. Include in the reference list all the sources you have cited in the paper except for personal communications, and include no works not cited. 

Gavilan APA Handout

Basic APA information and examples of citations for different kinds of sources.

APA Research papers require an abbreviated version of your title and a page number in the upper right corner of each page.

1) On the first page of the paper, select the Insert tab. insert tab image

2) Select Header from the Header & Footer section of the Insert ribbon. image of header choice 

3) Select Blank. image of blank header selection

4) Type your abbreviated title and click the spacebar.

5) Click on Page Number image of page number selection

6) Select Current location and Plain for number type. This inserts the page number on the current page and to each page as you add to your paper. image of the current location plain number selection

7) Select the Home tab and set the text to align right.

8) Select the Header Footer Tools tab at the top of the Window. image of the header footer tools tab

9) Click the red x in the corner to return to editing your paper. image of close header and footer icon

From your Google Doc, 1) click on Insert in the Menu, 2) click on Header & page number, and 3) select Header.

screen cap of step 1 in setting up an APA running head in Google Docs

Press the Enter key 4 times and type your short title in all caps on the left. This will now show top left on all of your pages even with your page numbers on the right.

screen cap of step 2 in setting up an APA running head in Google Docs

screen cap of a properly formatted References list

example of an APA title page